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Marantz Professional - Turret: A Broadcasting All-in-One

Hardware Reviews By Damien Gula on March 21, 2018

Marantz Professional - Turret: A Broadcasting All-in-One

In the ever expanding world of online streaming, equipment can be a huge barrier to entry. After all, you will need a machine capable of handling that gorgeous PC gameplay we all have come to love. But alongside the gameplay, you may want to share your face and voice with the world.

We have covered quite a few voice capture solutions with you here at MMORPG.com already, but what if I told you that there was an all-in-one solution that could jump-start your broadcasting peripheral needs without breaking the bank? If you are looking at getting into the streaming game, you will want to consider The Turret by Marantz Professional.

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Technical Specifications

  •  MSRP: $299.00 USD
  • Camera - 1080p at 30 FPS, uses H.264 compression
  • Adjustable LED light ring with three swappable color rings
  • Boom-mounted Condenser Microphone with shock mount, pop filter - 48kHz/16-bit
  • USB-C interface with 2 USB 3.0 expansion ports
  • Illuminated on/off buttons for both camera and microphone

There isn’t anything on the market quite like The Turret. This all-in-one solution provides a lot of components in one space and thanks to the power of USB-C, both the camera and microphone are able to run off of one USB port without any latency issues or the lose of more than one USB port.

One of the major questions that we have when approaching a product like The Turret is this: Is the collective value of the parts worth the price tag? Let’s talk about that, starting with the camera.

As mentioned in the technical specifications, The Turret’s webcam runs at 30 frames per second in 1080p resolution with the option of scaling it back to 720p with the same frame rate. This scaling is a curious choice with modern competitors offering a 60 frame per second option with the lowered resolution.

The camera also has an auto focus lens that is fairly quick to detect and correct for rapid movement. While this certain does not make The Turret an action camera (nor is it intended to be), the autofocus in combination with its use of H.264 video compression keeps captured video smooth and file size compact.

The LED ring around the outside of the camera adds a nice touch to the end user’s ability to control the immediate color temperature on the capture field. With three interchangeable filter rings for cool colors, warm colors, and diffused daylight, the adjustable LED light helps to smooth out the light profile in the room you are recording in. The color filters sit flush with the ring design and fit snuggly in place, leaving to room for extra light to escape.

With a 78 degree diagonal field of view, The Turret’s camera is highly articulate with a whole 300 degrees of rotation horizontally and 15 degrees up and down. These adjustments when paired with the microphone’s boom arm give the user options for where to position The Turret during use. Let’s move on to the microphone.

I have to get this out there before talking about the serious stuff: The Turret’s microphone looks like Overwatch’s Bastion… as a microphone. It’s an endearing design choice; its small form factor keeps it from dominating the view of the camera and has a friendly LED indicator on the front to let you know if it is on (blue) or off (red). This small form microphone is cradled in a shock mount with a wide range of articulation and protected by a pop filter. A thoughtful feature of the microphone’s design is that it includes a blank medallion for users to swap out the Marantz Professional labeling in favor of the user's own branding on the back of the pop filter.

As for the audio quality, The Turret’s microphone falls in line with many of the USB microphones that we have reviewed here at MMORPG.com. To give you an idea of the numbers, the sample rate (think graphics frame rate, only for sound) of 48 kHz at 16-bit is CD or film quality audio. Microphones like M-Audio’s UBER MIC, for example, have a similar sample rate. However, there are a number of USB microphone alternatives that offer a higher quality sample rate if you and your listeners have a discerning ear for it.


Another place where The Turret’s microphone is limited is in the lower (bass) end of the frequency response spectrum, only dipping down to 150 Hz. With the typical adult male vocal range between 85 Hz and 180 Hz (165 Hz - 255 Hz for the average female - if you’re interested), this seems like an oversight, but it could also be intentional. Some microphones do give the user an option to roll off lower frequencies and prevent boomy recording. The Turret chooses that option for you. 

However, that is about the only limitation in control that The Turret has - outside of full height adjustment. It offers the option to be used as an audio output device from your PC and blend the sound between the microphone and system audio along with an auxiliary out jack. From the standpoint of physical adjustment, The Turret offers a wide range of articulation in both the boom arm and camera angle for your spatial need. And how can we forget the two LED lit buttons for muting audio and powering off the camera?

As for build quality, The Turret uses a mix of metals and plastics to give it a solid footprint, but also to be light enough for transport… even if it’s just being transported across a desk!

The base and competent housings have a sleek metal design with brass accents at each moveable joint. The boom arm has two lengths with wide articulation for whatever application may be necessary for use with the camera. The camera housing, light ring, controls, and shock mount are all plastic.

One design critique that I have involves the LED ring light. Because of how the rings swap out, popping a color ring out can potentially loosen the housing around the camera. I started noticing an odd, blue light artifact in my video capture until I discovered that the camera housing had popped out while changing filters. The camera was picking up the glow of the accent LEDs. It was easily fixable, but it was worth noting for the end user.

With all of this in mind,  we return to the original question: Is The Turret worth the price tag?

If you are looking a compact gear solution or do not already have money invested in broadcasting gear, The Turret is dollar for dollar a solid value.

When you consider the cost of everything that you get with The Turret, the price starts to add up. If you take a microphone with comparable specs like the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB ($149 USB), add a pop filter ($15 and up), a shock mount ($79 - Audio-Technica’s recommended AT8458), a small footprint boom stand ($35 and up - Proline MS112 used for reference), and then add on a webcam ($50 at the low end), you have already exceed the $299 retail price of The Turret. This doesn’t even take into account the dimmable LED light ring, 2 USB 3.0 ports, or the value of clean cable management of the device itself.

Final Thoughts

The Turret is a unique solution for the burgeoning broadcaster. It provides everything that you need in one component to begin broadcasting of any sort. Being USB 2.0 Class Compliant, there are no drivers necessary, so you can begin recording right out of the box! All you need is a piece of capture software like OBS and you are ready to begin.

Anecdotally, as one of the co-hosts of the GameSpace GameShow on MMORPG’s Twitch Channel and my personal podcast, Roll The Level, I have been using The Turret exclusively for a few shows now. I tend to be a bit excitable, using my hands a fair bit while I’m talking and The Turret has captured my every movement and utterance with a fair amount of precision.

If you are getting started in streaming, podcasting, need a device for video conferencing, or if you are looking to streamline your broadcasting setup, Marantz Professional has you covered with The Turret.

Pros

  • USB-C connection provides low latency
  • Value for the dollar
  • Beautiful build quality with clean cable management
  • Highly versatile setup

Cons

  • Plastic surrounding the camera
  • No frame rate boost at lower resolution
  • Limit frequency and sample rate range

The product discussed in this article was provided on loan by the manufacturer for the purposes of review.